Witney Town Defences

Has been described as a Questionable Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameWitney Town Defences
Alternative NamesCogges
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishWitney

Bond writes that a late Saxon possible circuit 'can be traced from topographical indications'. The Oxfordshire HER reads 'Reputed Saxon rampart round Witney; described by C19th historians. C20th housing estate and service trenching revealed no evidence.' If these defences existed is is highly unlikely they had any post-Conquest significance.

Moats and ramparts surrounding village sites. Witney

The Ordnance Survey Map marks the site of a 'Saxon Rampart' along the edge of the hill which falls abruptly to the valley on the west of the town. Such a work would appear from the map to have encircled the town on the south and west sides. There would appear, however, to be now no remains of it, unless the broad ditch of about 5 ft. deep on the south of the churchyard and vicarage grounds, and which is in the line of the course laid down on the map, represents it. This may, however, be a boundary ditch of a later time. At the foot of the hill, and running round this side of the town in a curve concentric with that marked for the rampart, is 'Emma's Dyke,' an artificial watercourse 12 ft. wide, but it would appear to have been constructed for drainage rather than for defence. (VCH 1907)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP352092
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  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Potts, W., 1907, in Page, Wm (ed), 'Ancient Earthworks' VCH Oxfordshire Vol. 2 p. 332 online transcription